Cheryl Louise Hartman-Bender, lawyer, environmental activist, pilot, farmer, and resident of Humboldt County since 1990, passed away on October 26, 2020 at her home in Carlotta at the age of 75.

She was born in Portland, Oregon on May 4, 1945 and was the middle child of an older brother and sister and a younger brother. 

The best way to describe Cheryl was that whatever she did, she did it at 110%. She took no half measures. She never hesitated. She did everything how she wanted and when she wanted to do it. When she wanted to fly a plane, she didn’t buy one, she built one. When she wanted to raise sheep, it wasn’t one, it was a herd of them. When she wanted a car, it had to be a Porsche, and it had to be red.

She moved from Portland to Long Beach California as a where she attended Pacific Coast University in Long Beach, California where she obtained her law degree. She later practiced family law, and flew small planes, and drove fast cars. She then moved to Caliente, Nevada, and then to Humboldt County in 1990. While in Humboldt country she practiced law, was involved in the community in activities such as 4H, the local pilots club, and then later obtained her bachelor’s in environmental science from Humboldt State University.

She spent her retirement raising wolf/dog hybrids, gardening, Being a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and hiking around the various trails of Humboldt County.

Cheryl is survived by her sons Jeffery Dale Bender, and Christopher Scott Hartman.

J.K Rowling wrote that “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” For a woman who got married and divorced, obtained a law degree, a pilots license, a red Porsche, traveled internationally, lived in three states, got another degree, and raised cats, chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, wolf-dogs, and two sons, I can’t help but wonder if she just wanted to try something new. A celebration of life will occur on January 3rd , 2021. Details to follow.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Cheryl’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.